Sweatshop StudiosWORKING FOR MUSIC 10/01/2009 8:00 AM Eastern
The name “Sweatshop” seems less than apt for the environment that owner/operator Shaul Dover and his musician/producer son, Edan Dover, have created in rural upstate New York. Designed by John Storyk of the Walters Storyk Design Group, Sweatshop (Katonah, N.Y.; www.sweatshopstudios.com) is a spacious, upscale addition to the Dovers' home, comprising a two-story-high 400-square-foot live room and a 450-square-foot control room.
The opening of Sweatshop in 2008 marked a career change for Shaul Dover, who had been in garment manufacturing for most of his working life. “For me, it's a mid-life crisis,” he says with a laugh. “I had a background in electronics, but I had been out of that for a long time. Now I have a talented son who is a jazz piano player, as well as a producer, and it gave me the urge to start doing some home recording for him.”
Dover also refreshed his technical knowledge with a two-year engineering course at SAE. He hired Storyk to develop a design plan for a dedicated studio and executed that plan with his son's help.
“The structure you see, Edan and I built it from the ground up,” Dover says. “We did subcontract parts of the job, but the majority of it we built ourselves, 100 percent to John Storyk's spec.”
“This is a full room-within-room design with concrete slabs, IAC doors and lots of glass,” Storyk notes. “We recommended high-quality wall and ceiling treatments and mid-frequency diffusers. Sweatshop is already working with some interesting new artists, and the material we've already heard out of this room has been impressive.”
Equipment-wise, Shaul Dover says he felt strongly about using a careful balance of analog and digital, so he installed a Euphonix System 5 console, Studer A800 24-track machine (formerly owned by Universal Studios), Digidesign Pro Tools and Steinberg Nuendo, and Dynaudio BM15A 5.1 surround monitoring with a BM12S sub.
“We built the studio to be routed through a patchbay to the 24-track machine,” Dover says. “We can record to tape or not, and from there we go into one of two systems that we have working in parallel. Our preferred platform is Nuendo because of the 32-bit conversion, but we also have Pro Tools HD.”
The Dovers conceived Sweatshop as a conventional recording studio, but have since changed their business plan to include artist development. They recently held an online “Facebook Idol” competition, which nurtured their relationships with talented new bands, and they've signed one of the Top 10 vote-getters to a production deal.
“Right now, we have Gary Portnoy in the studio, the guy who did the theme song for Cheers,” Dover says. “We've also had some voice-over sessions, local bands, demos, etc.”
“We have four acres of space here,” he continues, “and other nice things that come with the session include a great meal. But the best part is we're making great music.”